|Coup De Main - Chapter Two|
I decided to re-post this chapter by chapter. I really want you guys to be rough. I know this thing has holes everywhere, but give advice to fix them.
I want to know what you think, yes, but also what's wrong, and what's right.
Deep in the vastness of space, a presence reached out, searching, waiting. Suddenly, its patience was rewarded. It had felt another presence, and jerked back into hiding, so it would not be found. After a moment, it reached out once again, and this time, instead of feeling the inquisitive touch, it heard the other speaking, giving orders. It paused a moment, listening. Then, satisfied, it pulled itself back, and hid once again...
Odelon relaxed, pulling himself fully out of midworld. He sat and thought a moment. He had had suspicions, and these were now confirmed. It was now time to make a decision: stay neutral, or involve himself?
I wanted to keep out of this, he mused, but it looks as if I don't help, the whole galaxy will have a new ruler- a despot the likes of which has never been seen. He will be conqueror in a few days, and when he wins, I shall either have to remain hidden, go back to Netherworld, or fight him. I am not a coward, so hiding is not an option. Netherworld has not been safe since the schism, and going there is still running away.
Having reached his decision, he reached up and actuated the slidecomp. Selecting the correct system, he started the slidecalc and proceeded to test all systems before the slide. He set the transmitter to channel 1984, set shields and shard accelerators to maximum, and then shut them down to free the power for the slide. The slidecalc beeped a 5-minute warning, and he quickly checked life support, then brought the slide capacitors online, and charged them. By then the slidecalc had finished, and he reached out and flipped the contact lever.
The ship thrummed with power. The impulse drive powered up, without actually igniting, and held there. Four panels slid open on the ship, and the slipstream generators, already beginning to glow with power, rose from the ships hull. As they extended fully, energy sparking into the void, immensely bright beams shot out from the generators to a point 6 meters in front of the ship. A bright ball of energy began to form there, when suddenly it began to spin and flatten into a disc.
The ship had begun to quiver slightly under the massive power drain, the engines struggling to produce the required power. Suddenly a massive surge of energy pulsed off the generators, causing a silent explosion of light at the point of intersection. A hole opened in the center of the spinning disk of energy, forming a spinning ring through which a planetary system could be seen.
The main engines ignited, then shut off. This brief surge slammed the ship forward into the hole, which widened as the generators got closer to it. As the ship passed inside, it seemed to slow down as the bow stretched into the hole, then sped to unimaginable velocities as the stern jumped forward to meet the bow. Simultaneously, it vanished inside as the hole closed upon it with a bright flash.
In a far system there was a silent flash, and suddenly a bright circle appeared around a hole with a ship, strangely thin and elongated, inside. The hole widened, and the ship suddenly jumped through, returning to its normal size as the hole flashed shut behind it.
Now, Odelon thought to himself grimly, we get down to business.
- - -
"Sir!" the intercom cut into Admiral Mykincha's reverie. "our sensors just picked up a slide on the far side of Skeff. What should we do?"
"Do? Send a fighter wing out to investigate, but tell them not to fire unless fired upon. We already have enough enemies." Why does everything seem to come at the wrong time, he wondered. I have just lost over 500 men, I have to call for reinforcements, notify the parents of the deaths, and on top of all that we have a possibly hostile ship that just slid in.
He sighed and shook his head as he stood up from his chair, the memory foam returning to its original shape. Well, I guess I'll just have to bear it, he muttered, and walked out of his chamber, the door spiraling shut behind him. The guards snapped to attention as he walked out of his quarters, and walked with him toward the transport pod. Entering, he let the guard select "bridge", and waited as the pod accelerated horizontally, then the compartment shuddered as 'horizontal' became 'vertical' motion when it entered the bridge area. As he stepped out, he was accosted by a worried-looking orderly,
"Sir?" his hand-held data assistant scrolling information, "we have finished scanning the intruder. It appears to be based on the experimental Arcturus light cruiser. It weighs about the same, approximately 1000 Kt, and not to mention the fact that it slid in by itself, it's power readings are 100 times the usual for a ship that size."
"Thank you, orderly, now, what about weapons?"
"Ahh, just a moment, sorry sir," He said apologetically. "The DA computer is stretched to its limit and is rather slow at the moment." Punching some buttons, he scribbled something on the DA, "Ok, here it is. Four missile tubes, two of which appear to be high-velocity antimatter rockets. Two heavy plasma cannon, two EMP cannon, two stasis-laser cannon, two warp field emitters, what looks to be a shard accelerator, and something we have never seen before, but it seems to be similar to a molecular immolator."
"Well, it seems that whoever they are came prepared to fight. Thank you, that will be all." He turned, and ordered communication to hail the vessel as soon as they had visual.
"Sir? It appears the unknown vessel is hailing us, on standard Imperial battle frequency. The hail shows the ship to be the Anakhronyx, piloted by one life form, type unknown. The hailing call says the name of the pilot is Odelon, sir."
"Respond to hail. Lets see what it wants." Mykincha said grimly. Ships don't just accidentally slide into an interdicted area, even one so massively armed as this one. It was a small vessel, granted, but with power levels and armament like that? It could do some serious damage even to an Imperial Dreadnought. He walked to his command chair and sat down. " -and I want this ship put on yellow alert. I don't want to be caught unprepared by this thing."
- - -
"Anakhronyx, this is Wing Commander Veldt Petir. You are ordered to keep shields and weapon systems offline. Powering up either system will be taken as aggressive action, and you will be fired on." As Petir wondered what the response would be, there was a brief hiss of brown noise, then a voice.
"Commander Veldt Petir, I am Odelon." The voice was dry and sounded slightly mechanical. While decidedly strange, it had a comforting timbre to it. "I cannot guarantee that I will keep those systems offline. The being you are after on the planet below is more dangerous than you realize. I cannot do as you ask without placing myself in extreme danger, therefore I will not comply. You may rest assured, however, that any activation of my weapon systems or shields is in response to an aggressive move from the planet below. You are in no danger from me."
"Umm, very well, Odelon." Petir said uncertainly, "Just remember what I sai-." He was cut off by a loud burst of static from the comm. At the same moment, the Anakhronyx rotated 90 degrees from its location and, with a burst of light, shot at a right angle from the planet, then went into evasive maneuvers as its weapons and shields came online. Reaching for the comm. switch, he was interrupted by a message from the Argonaut:
"Wing Commander! The planetary shield has been deactivated! We detect two objects rising rapidly off the surface toward your position! Suggest evasive maneuvers!"
Before the message had finished, Petir had started his evasive maneuvers. Suddenly, the two objects flashed by him, one of them hitting one of the Stingrays in his wing. Just before the object hit the ship, it burst open, sending glowing bluish tendrils out in a starburst pattern. The tendrils hit the ship, wrapped around it, and then contracted tightly. Sparks flew out into space as shields, and then armor in turn fought against the contracting tendrils, failing to stop the contraction.
The pilot was screaming in panic, his ejection seat having failed. The tacnet echoed with the screams of a man who knew he was going to die.
As the tendrils began to squeeze on the ship itself, smaller vines began growing along the hull, melting hull plates as they grew. In a matter of seconds the ship was covered in the energy vines. The vines kept squeezing the ship, digging through the hull. Suddenly, the remains of the ball glowed blindingly bright, and shot itself through the weakened hull as the vines contracted completely.
The pilot was no longer screaming.
The Stingray exploded in an ever-expanding ball of hot gases, metal and Polycarbonates flying away like meteorites and no less dangerous.
The second sphere had stopped its outward travel, and hung in space, quivering, as if indecisive. Suddenly, a needle stream of deep blue shards connected with it, and it exploded in a bright flash.
A gravelly voice came on the tacnet, breaking the stunned silence, "Wing Commander, I assume you now believe me? Your crewman is perfectly safe on board the Argonaut- don't ask any questions; you would not believe me if I told you. I am going down to the planet now, and I don't want any problems. Anakhronyx out."
(March 25th, 2003, 6:21 pm)
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